You may not remember back in 2006 when scientists nearly destroyed the planet. In fact, you might not have even heard about it.

The Z Machine at Sandia National Labs.
The Ghost of Global Destruction Past

What happened was this: the smart guys over at Sandia National Labs were running a ‘routine’ test when they incidentally created gases in excess of 3,600,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s three point six billion degrees). For reference, that’s seventeen million times what it takes to boil water, or one point four million times what it takes to melt steel, or one hundred and thirty times as hot as the core of the sun. In short, it’s really stamping hot.

As if that wasn’t dangerous enough, this phenomenal heat wasn’t actually produced during the test, but after the machinery had been turned off—when it was supposed to be cooling down. As far as the scientists could tell, the heat was sustaining itself, generating more energy than had been initially put in. That is to say: they didn’t try to make it happen, and they weren’t able to stop it. I find that really scary. They found it ‘puzzling.’

“At first, we were disbelieving,” said project leader Chris Deeney, his English reminiscent of a 419 scam. “We repeated the experiment many times to make sure we had a true result.”

They repeated it. They had accidentally created an incomprehensible amount heat over which they had no control, and they kept doing it to see what would happen? I’d hate to have been a fly on that wall:

“Think it will grow bigger this time?” Tweedledee, PhD asks. “Maybe eat up the whole planet?”
“Nah,” Tweedledee, ScD replies. “But how cool if it seared through the dimensional barrier, loosing demons and bringing hell to Earth?”

So that was 2006, and somehow we’re still here. But, like a speeder that’s never been caught, science is still on the march. This timeLIFE project at the National Ignition Facility
The ironically named LIFE,
the cutting edge of apocalypse technology
they’re building a ‘miniature sun’ right here on the surface of the Earth (you know, the planet that every complains we’re destroying). The idea is simple: take a 1.4-megajoule laser system, split it into 192 individual beams and then use those to ignite a forty ton block of uranium. Woah, yeah, nothing scary about a giant hunk of burning uranium.

You know, it’s always touching when those peace-loving scientists gather around their death-clock to moan about global warming, but the truth is, they’re the truly dangerous. We might be trashing this planet, but they’ll chuck the whole thing away for the chance to find something ‘neat.’